Let’s have Parliament with fewer MPs too

President Emmanuel Macron wants to cut the French Parliament by a third.

Speaking at the Palace of Versailles on Monday, Macron said France was ready to embark on a “radically new path,” announcing sweeping changes to the country’s voting system.

Macron proposed cutting the number of delegates in both the upper and lower houses of Parliament, saying it would have “positive effects on the general quality of parliamentary work.

He pledged to hold a referendum on it if Parliament did not approve. He further promised to give citizens more power to use petitions to get key topics discussed in Parliament.

“A Parliament with fewer MPs and greater resources would be a Parliament that is more fluid. I will propose to reduce by a third the members of the constitutional assembly,” Macron said. “The pace of designing laws must meet the demands of society,” he emphasized.

We on the streets support the idea held by this youthful French leader that a Parliament with fewer MPs is more fluid. You just have to look at the mess that we have in Malawi.

I believe time has come for Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world to also consider taking the path France, a G8 country, is taking.

I will not dwell much on the political systems in France and Malawi and how they are a mismatch, because for us in the streets, we really do not care about the political systems but the numbers that can deliver development for the betterment of lives of common men.

Our 193 members of Parliament are a huge drain of resources considering the kind of work that they do.

Word on the street is that, we are yet to be convinced that all lawmakers really deserve a seat in that House.

We are at the crossroads of democracy. The House is most of the time half full because, lawmakers no longer take meetings seriously. The tendency of absenteeism is slowly normalized. The people we elected, no longer do what we elected them to do; hold the Executive to account.

Most of our lawmakers attend Parliament when they wish and continue to expect poor Malawians to pay them handsomely, to fund their loans and privilleges.

But as all things, there must be an end. Malawi is too poor to continue supporting a bloated House that is always half-full.

What transpired during the just-ended Budget Meeting clearly shows that a few individuals are capable of scrutinizing the budget. Since the onset of of deliberations members have stayed away or report late in the chamber.

Word on the street is that, despite the lawmakers missing deliberations, they still pocketed around K40 000 per day as subsistence allowance and K10 000 for seating allowance which is paid out before meeting starts.

On several occasions, the Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya and his deputies have warned the members to desist from the malpractice but to no avail.

Yet Standing Order 41(3) clearly states that “a member who is absent without seeking leave of absence shall forfeit all allowances during the period of absence.”

I digress, but all I am trying to say is that a Parliament with fewer MPs would be a Parliament that is more effective.

That is why, it is important to cut some of the chaff and remain with only a few seats in Parliament to ensure that the House is more solid.

I know there are so many people out there crying out for demarcation of constituencies so that they have a representative in Parliament. My question to them is what new thing will the lawmakers bring to Parliament?

The view on the street is that the move is more political than beneficial to the country.

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